Wet pushes heifer prices

Wet pushes NSW heifer prices even higher

Beef
Wonderful rain has given added vigour to sales, particularly heifers, which continue to soar in value. Landmark Milling Thomas recently sold these 37 heifers for 406.2c/kg.

Wonderful rain has given added vigour to sales, particularly heifers, which continue to soar in value. Landmark Milling Thomas recently sold these 37 heifers for 406.2c/kg.

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The gap in price between steers and females has narrowed.

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IT'S anyone's guess when and at what price the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) will level since it's near-daily record breaking increases from January.

It was at 762 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) on Tuesday and there's no indication of it stopping any time soon as last week's wet change has signalled a restocker frenzy to rebuild the herd in competition to processors in the saleyards.

The gap in price between steers and females has narrowed with Dubbo's P.T. Lord, Dakin and Associates agent, Mark Garland, saying it's due to supply and demand.

"At Dubbo last week once we got into the females the crowd grew and the money grew," Mr Garland said.

"The old rule of thumb of $150 to $200 between a steer and a heifer is out the window. When you sold a steer you'd probably get $150 less for its sister. But last week it was the other way around."

Mr Garland said with grass about demand far outweighed supply.

"There were only 250 head at Gunnedah on Tuesday and Dubbo numbers are shorter on Tuesday, while Dalby yarded just 2000 when they had been selling 4000 to 5000 head.

"While ever numbers are low and grass is about encouraging a massive herd rebuild, this trend will continue," he said.

Mr Garland said the rain last week was the event all were waiting for and most got, so the herd rebuild from central to northern NSW and Queensland was in full swing.

"The numbers are low and demand's high from restockers, processors, lot feeders and backgrounders, and I think there is more demand for females to go back to the restocking side," he said.

"Because numbers aren't about for lot feeders to go hard on steers, they're competing on heifers and that's why you'll find the market has taken the rise it has."

Isaac Hill of Wagga Regional Livestock Pty Ltd, said he saw the steer/heifer gap narrowing too.

"Certainly with those slightly heavier feeder-types, because feeder steers are in limited supply, so people are supplementing with heifers," he said.

"There is a premium for the 370kg to 380kg or above bracket, and that's purely lo tfeeders trying to have adequate quantities in feed."

However, Mr Hill said southern sales were not recording unusually excessive local competition on heifers.

"Heifer buying is happening from restockers from the north," he said.

"Although we had that second significant rain, we are a month behind northern NSW and Queensland and our paddocks are only just starting to get growth now."

Mr Hill said graziers were now holding on to stock to put weight on and gain the dollar/kilogram value return instead of cashing out and then rebuying at present values.

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